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Safe Well Water In Oregon

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Access to safe drinking water is critical for human health and survival. Currently, there is a problem with safe drinking water in the state of Oregon. About 35% of Oregonians get their drinking water solely from groundwater, 10% get it from surface water, and 55% rely on surface water and groundwater (Harvey, 2012). Many Oregon residents whose water is provided by a well or other underground source is contaminated. These contaminants in the water include nitrates, arsenic, and fecal bacteria pollution, which have been linked to cancer, miscarriages, and other long-term chronic health risks (Oregon Environmental Council, 2016). Well water contamination is common throughout the state and impacts people whose domestic well water may not be regularly tested for safety like public water systems are (Oregon Environmental Council, 2016).

The 2016 Safe Well Water Bill (HB 4125), would require the OHA to analyze ground water contaminant data and provide education in areas with grown water contaminant problems (Oregon Environmental Council, 2016). This bill would direct the OHA to use real estate transaction well data to identify areas where groundwater contamination threats are the greatest, and to target voluntary education and outreach to those areas (Oregon Environmental Council, 2016). The bill would provide funding to help low-income individuals repair drinking water well or install some type of water quality treatment if necessary (Oregon Environmental Council, 2016). It also would provide funding for county health departments and other local organizations to establish voluntary well testing programs and public education (Oregon Environmental Council, 2016). Lastly, it would require landlords to provide their tenants with recent well test results for arsenic, bacteria, and nitrates, as well as require them to annually test wells if some type of contamination is present (Oregon Environmental Council, 2016).


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